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|Seventies & Eighties Made-For-TV Movies - W|
WAKIKI 1980 105 min. Dack Rambo, Steve Marachuk, Donna Mills, Darren McGavin, Cal Bellini, Robert F. Lyons, Mark Slade, Tanya Roberts. Directed by Ron Satlof. Pedestrian pilot revolving around a couple of dashing private detectives in Hawaii. Below average. WAIT TILL YOUR MOTHER GETS HOME! 1983 100 min. Paul Michael Glaser, Dee Wallace, Peggy McKay, David Doyle, Ray Buktenica, Lynne Moody, James Gregory. Directed by Bill Persky. Perceptive familiar tale of a football coach who has to run the household while his wife goes to work. Written by D. Eyre and director Persky. Above average. WAKE ME WHEN THE WAR IS OVER 1969 73 min. Ken Berry, Eva Gabor, Werner Klemperer, Danielle Metz, Jim Backus, Hans Conried, Parley Baer. Directed by Gene Nelson. A bumbling American officer (Berry) thinks WW2 is still on, thanks to the efforts of an odd German baroness (Gabor) and her friends. Fair comedy but for Berry. Average. WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE 1979 100 min. Bess Armstrong, Tom Mason, Richard Masur, Swoosie Kurtz, Bonnie Bedelia, June Lockhart, J.D. Cannon. Directed by Robert Day. Affecting dramatization by Sue Grafton of Laura Lee's personal chronicle of her struggle with Hodgkin's disease and its effect on her unborn child. Above average. THE WALL 1982 150 min. Tom Conti, Lisa Eichhorn, Gerald Hiken, Rachel Roberts, Philip Sterling, Eli Wallach. Directed by Robert Markowitz. Millard Lampell's adaptation of his 1960 play, which in turn came from John Hersey's book about the 1943 Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. The confusing film translation and generally perfunctory acting reduces a never-to-be-forgotten historical happening to an off-the-assembly-line war movie, despite being shot entirely on location in Poland (just before the Solidarity movement overwhelmed the country). Average. WANTED: THE SUNDANCE WOMAN 1976 100 min. Katharine Ross, Steve Forrest, Stella Stevens, Hector Elizondo, Michael Constantine, Katherine Helmond. Directed by Lee Philips. Ross again is Etta Place in the sequel to BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID -- or, what happened to Etta following their deaths -- she's running guns for Pancho Villa. The sparkling humor of the original has fizzled. Average. Retitled MRS. SUNDANCE RIDES AGAIN; Elizabeth Montgomery played the role in 1974's MRS. SUNDANCE. THE WAR BETWEEN THE TATES 1977 100 min. Elizabeth Ashley, Richard Crenna, Ann Wedgeworth, Annette O'Toole, Granville Van Dusen. Directed Lee Philips. This domestic drama has a small-town professor trying to resolve a crisis when his wife learns of his affair with one of his students. This adaptation of Alison Lurie's best-seller has lost some of its bite, but Ashely's rich portrait compensates. Average. A WAR OF CHILDREN 1972 73 min. Jenny Agutter, Vivien Merchant, John Ronane, Danny Figgis, Anthony Andrews, Aideen O'Kelly. Directed by George Schaefer. Solid James Costigan-written script about the mad warfare in modern-day Northern Ireland, centering around a single family. Good cast, totally location-shot. Above average. WASHINGTON MISTRESS 1982 100 min. Lucie Arnaz, Richard Jordon, Tony Bill, Pat Hingle, Tarah Nutter, Charles Levin. Directed by Peter Levin. A sudsy romantic drama about a bright, ambitious congressional aide who falls for a charming, married lobbyist and has a long, not-so-secret affair with him. Coldly played by the stars. Average. WE'RE FIGHTING BACK 1981 98 min. Kevin Mahon, Paul McCrane, Joe Morton, Ellen Barkin, Stephen Lang, Brian Tochi. Directed Lou Antonio. The exploits of N.Y.C.'s Guardian Angels inspired this movie about a youth group that has banded together to fight subway crime. Scripted by T.S. Cook (of CHINA SYNDROME fame). Average. THE WEEKEND NUN 1972 78 min. Joanna Pettet, Vic Morrow, Ann Sothern, James Gregory, Beverly Garland, Barbara Werle, Kay Lenz. Directed by Jeonnot Szwarc. Sister Damian (Pettet) innocently assumes she can work as a probation officer and remain true to her vows, but her experiences on the job with realistic partner Jardine (Morrow), culminating in a tragic accident, make her realize she must make a major vocational decision. A well-conceived, smoothly executed morality play, complete with fine performances by the entire cast. Above average. WEEKEND OF TERROR 1970 73 min. Robert Conrad, Lee Majors, Lois Nettleton, Carol Lynley, Jane Wyatt, Kevin Hagen. Directed by Jud Taylor. Three nuns are taken hostage by kidnappers searching for a girl who resembles the original hostage killed accidentally. If you can get by the embarrassing dialogue, fair suspense with a predictable resolution. Average. WELCOME HOME, JOHNNY BRISTOL 1971 100 min. Martin Landau, Jane Alexander, Brock Peters, Forrest Tucker, Martin Sheen, Pat O'Brien. Directed by George McCowan. Returning Vietnam vet in a flashback thriller dealing with bizarre reactions to his Vermont home town and the ways in which it has changed. Unconvincing characters in a forgettable drama. Below average. A WHALE FOR THE KILLING 1981 150 min. Peter Strauss, Richard Widmark, Dee Wallace, Kathryn Walker, Bruce McGill, Ken James, David Ferry. Directed by Richard T. Heffron. Strauss' personal statement about the slaughter of whales off Newfoundland. A powerful if somewhat talky drama written by Lionel Chetwynd from Farley Mowat's book. Above average. WHAT ARE BEST FRIENDS FOR? 1973 78 min. Ted Bessell, Lee Grant, Larry Hagman, Barbara Feldon, Nina Talbot, George Furth, Corinne Camacho. Directed by Jay Sandrich. Bouncy comedy about the efforts of a married couple to find companionship for their recently divorced friend. Sparkling performances make something out of almost nothing. Average. WHAT'S A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU...? 1971 73 min. Brenda Vaccaro, Jack Warden, Vincent Price, Roddy McDowall, Edmond O'Brien, Jo Anne Worley. Directed by Jerry Paris. Entertaining comedy by Howard Fast about a Bronx ugly-duckling drawn into an elaborate extortion plot which calls for her to impersonate a rich socialite. Some good bits, but the film lags in the wrong places. Average. WHEN EVERY DAY WAS THE FOURTH OF JULY 1978 100 min. Katy Kurtzman, Dean Jones, Louise Sorel, Harris Yulin, Chris Peterson, Geoffrey Lewis, Scott Brady, Henry Wilcoxon, Michael Pataki. Directed by Dan Curtis. Touching period period piece fictionalized from events in Curtis' childhood (but reminiscent of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD), about a young girl who begs her lawyer father to defend the town weirdo -- a shell-shocked, mute handyman -- on homicide charges, thus incurring the scorn of the community. Curtis himself narrates this drama. Followed by THE LONG DAYS OF SUMMER. Above average. WHEN SHE SAYS NO 1984 100 min. Kathleen Quinlan, Jeffrey DeMunn, George Dzundza, David Huffman, Kenneth McMillan, Rip Torn, Jane Alexander. Directed by Paul Aaron. A dowdyish college professor lives it up at a teacher's convention, invites three male colleagues to her room, and later hauls them into court for rape, though they insist it was seduction. Quinlan is absolutely fine as usual, but the unresolved plot will leave the viewer cold. Average. WHEN SHE WAS BAD... 1979 100 min. Cheryl Ladd, Robert Urich, Eileen Brennan, Dabney Coleman, Marcia Lewis, Ramon Bieri, Nicole Eggert. Directed by Peter H. Hunt. A pretty young housewife and mother, unable to cope with marriage, becomes a child beater. Below average. WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN 1981 100 min. Elizabeth Montgomery, Christopher Plummer, Eileen Brennan, Gretchen Wyler, Ann Shropshire, Tommy Madden, Timothy Hill. Directed by Boris Sagal. A romantic comedy (Montgomery's first, following a long string of dramas) about a Southern spinster who decides to recharge her life by running away and joining a flea-bitten traveling circus. Above average. WHEN YOUR LOVER LEAVES 1983 100 min. Valerie Perrine, Betty Thomas, David Ackroyd, Edward O'Neill, Dwight Schultz, Shannon Wilcox. Directed by Jeff Bleckner. This comedy-drama produced by Henry Winkler and Ron Howard involves a recent divorcee who takes up with a kinky cop when her married boyfriend dumps her. A complete misfire. Below average. WHERE THE LADIES GO 1980 100 min. Candy Clark, Karen Black, Earl Holliman, Lisa Hartman, Janette Lane Bradbury, Mary Jo Catlett, Lou Antonio. Directed by Theodore J. Flicker. Humorous tale about a special little bar (hours 9AM to 3PM) to which the lades go to live out their fantasies and find some adventure. Flicker's off-beat touches bring to mind his early feature film work. Script by Crol Sobieski. Average. WHITE MAMA 1980 105 min. Bette Davis, Ernest Harden, Eileen Heckart, Virgiinia Capers, Luren Tuttle. Directed by Jackie Cooper. Prime latter-day Davis. A penniless widow, as a means of survival, strikes a bargain with a street-wise black youth to provide a home for him. Script by Robert C.S. Downs. Above average. WHITE WATER REBELS 1983 100 min. Catherine Bach, James Brolin, Pepe Serna, Richard Lynch, Kai Wulff, Michael C. Gwynne. Directed by Reza S. Badiyi. White water kayaker Brolin and photojournalist Bach versus unscrupulous developers who want to dam up a wild mountain river, with a water-soaked outline of DELIVERANCE probably tucked in their life preservers. Average. WHO IS THE BLACK DAHLIA? 1975 100 min. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ronny Cox, Macdonald Carey, Lucie Arnaz, Tom Bosely, Gloria DeHaven, Rick Jason, June Lockhart, Mercedes McCambridge, Donna Mills. Directed by Joseph Pevney. Veteran L.A. detective Zimbalist attempts to piece together clues in the murder of a woman in 1947. Based on a true unsolved murder case, this atmospheric crime drama is intriguingly written and well cast down to the cameos. Source material later used for TRUE CONFESSIONS. Above average. WHO WILL LOVE MY CHILDREN? 1983 100 min. Ann-Margret, Frederic Forrest, Cathryn Damon, Donald Moffat, Lonny Chapman, Patricia Smith, Christopher Allport, Tracy Gold. Directed by John Erman. A dying mother (Ann-Margret in her TV-move debut) strives to have her ten children placed with loving families in this poignant weeper, based by writer Michael Bortman on the true story of Iowa farm wife Lucile Fray. Above average. WHO'LL SAVE OUR CHILDREN? 1978 100 min. Shirley Jones, Len Cariou, Cassie Yates, Conchata Ferrell, Frances Sternhagen. Directed by George Schaefer. Well-acted drama about foster parents who battle to keep the youngsters they have raised when the natural parents, who deserted the children years earlier, sue to reclaim them. Based on Rachel Maddux' THE ORCHARD CHILDREN. Above average. THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING 1969 97 min. Joseph Campanella, James Farentino, Burt Ives, Hal Holbrook, Steve Ihnat, Rick Ely, Stephen McNally, Carrie Snodgress. Directed by Richard Colla. Young lawyer brothers defend a student radical accused of murdering a policeman during a campus riot. OK tension during the trial, but the major characters come across as stereotypes. Predecessor of "The Lawyer" segment of THE BOLD ONES, written by the ubiquitous Levinson-Link team. Average.
WHY ME 1984 100 min. Glynnis O'Connor, Armand Assante, Craig Wasson, Annie Potts, Michael Sacks, William Windom. Directed by Fielder Cook. Sensitively handled but graphic drama about an Air Force nurse whose face, life and marriage are shattered in a head-on collision. O'Connor turns in another sterling performance despite the fact that her character's mouth is literally stitched shut through much of the film. True story of Leola Mae Harmon was the basis of Dalene Young's incisive script. Above average. WIDOW 1976 100 min. Michael Learned, Bradford Dillman, Farley Granger, Louise Sorel, Robert Lansing, Carol Rossen, Eric Olson. Directed by J. Lee Thompson. Dreary soap opera about a woman with two children trying to adjust emotionally after her husband's death, taken from Lynn Caine's best-seller. Below average. THE WILD AND THE FREE 1980 100 min. Granville Van Dusen, Linda Gray, Frank Logan, Ray Forchion, Sharon Anderson, Bill Gribble. Directed by James Hill. Comical adventure involving scientists working in chimpanzee research and a group of home-raised chimps which are returned to the jungle. Average. WILD AND WOOLY 1978 100 min. Chris DeLisle, Susan Bigelow, Jessica Walter, Doug McClure, David Doyle, Ross Martin, VIc Morrow. Directed by Philip Leacock. It's CHARLIE'S ANGELS in the Old West, with three women breaking out of prison to try to thwart the assassination of Teddy Roosevelt. A pilot that led nowhere. Average. WILD TIMES 1980 200 min. Sam Elliott, Ben Johnson, Bruce Boxlietner, Peny Peyser, Dennis Hopper, Cameron Mitchell, Pat Hingle, Harry Carey, Jr., Gene Evans, Leif Erickson, Trish Stewart. Directed by Richard Compton. An engaging version of Brian Garfield's tale about a dime novel hero who becomes America's first Wild West Show impressario. Originally shown in two parts, then shortened for its second run. Average. THE WILD WILD WEST REVISITED 1979 100 min. Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, Paul Williams, Harry Morgan, Rene Auberjonois, Robert Shields, Lorene Yarnell. Directed by Burt Kennedy. The resourceful duo of the old-time series (1965-69) come out of retirement in this proposed series pilot to hunt down the baddy who has been cloning world leaders in his scheme to dominate the planet. Average. Followed by MORE WILD WILD WEST. WILD WOMEN 1970 73 min. Hugh O'Brian, Anne Francis, Marilyn Maxwell, Marie Windsor, Sherry Jackson, Cynthia Hall. Directed by Don Taylor. Army engineers, mapping crucial Texas trails during the 1840s, travel disguised as a wagon train; their "wives" are recruited from federal prisons. Tame mixture of comedy and adventure. Average. THE WILD WOMEN OF CHASTITY GULCH 1982 100 min. Priscilla Barnes, Lee Horsley, Joan Collins, Howard Duff, Pamela Bellwood, Phyllis Davis, Jeanette Nolan, Morgan Brittany, Donny Osmond, Lisa Whelchel. Directed by Philip Leacock. Sitcom level Western pitting a band of women-hungry renegades against the good ladies and barroom belles of Chastity Gulch whose men have marched off to war. Average. WILL, G. GORDON LIDDY 1982 100 min. Robert Conrad, Katherine Cannon, Gary Bayer, Peter Ratray, James Rebhorn, Red West, Maurice Woods, Danny Lloyd. Directed by Robert Lieberman. Conrad is right on target as convicted Watergate conspirator Liddy, but the real Liddy remains an enigma in this emasculated film version of his autobiography (originally three hours but severely cut, reportedly over producer Conrad's objections). Average. WILL THERE REALLY BE A MORNING? 1983 150 min. Susan Blakely, Lee Grant, John Heard, Melanie Mayron, Royal Dano, Joseph Mahar, Madeline Thornton-Sherwood. Directed by Fielder Cook. Blakely and Grant give scorcing performances as the ill-fated Frances Farmer and her monstrous mother in this "other" (purportedly more factual than the theatrical FRANCES) movie on the long-ago screen and stage actress, adapted by Dalene Young from Farmer's autobiography. Above average. WILLA 1979 100 min. Deborah Raffin, Clu Gulager, Cloris Leachman, Diane Ladd, John Amos, Nancy Marchand, Mary Wickes. Directed by Joan Darling and Claudio Guzman. A hash-slinging waitress embarks on a new career as a lady trucker after being abandoned by her husband. Average. WILMA 1977 100 min. Cicely Tyson, Shirley Jo Finney, Jason Bernard, Joe Seneca, Denzel Washington, Jr. Directed by Bud Greenspan. Uninspired drama about the early years of Wilma Rudolph (Finney) who beat polio to become the gold medal-winning Olympics track star. Lackluster performances generated by a so-so script. Below average. WINCHESTER '73 1967 97 min. Tom Tryon, John Saxon, Dan Duryea, Joan Blondell, John Drew Barrymore, Ned Romero. Directed by Herschel Daugherty. OK remake of the 1950 version with Saxon returning home from a prison seething hate, eventually stealing a priceless rifle from his brother sheriff Tryon. Action mostly good; only the resolution seems poorly handled. Average. WINGS OF FIRE 1967 100 min. Suzanne Pleshette, James Farentino, Ralph Bellamy, Juliiet Mills, Jeremy Slate, Lloyd Nolan. Directed by David Lowell Rich. Headstrong flier Pleshette enters an air race to save the floundering flight service run by her father and his associate. Hokey melodrama has the climax and resolution unusually contrived. Below average. THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT 1983 100 min. Donald Sutherland, Teri Garr, Tuesday Weld, Michael Gazzo, Richard Masur, E.G. Marshall. Directed by Waris Hussein. A top-notch cast is mired in this muddled version of Steinbeck's final novel about the compromising of an honorable man. Michael de Guzman's adaptation doesn't capture the guts of Steinbeck but gives it a valiant effort. Average. WITH THIS RING 1978 100 min. Tony Bill, Tom Bosley, Diana Canova, John Forsythe, Scott Hylands, Danny Most, Dick Van Patten, Betty White. Directed by James Sheldon. A formula sitcom approach to the wedding game, with all the predictability of a LOVE BOAT episode. Mary Francis Crosby, Bing's daughter, made her TV acting debut in this one. Average. WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION 1982 100 min. Ralph Richardson, Deborah Kerr, Beau Bridges, Donald Pleasence, Wendy Hiller, Diana Rigg. Directed by Alan Gibson. A great cast has a ball with Agatha Christie's memorable suspense drama about a London murder trial. Kerr's performance as barrister Richardson's garrulous nurse marked her TV acting debut, but Rigg, as defendant Bridges's enigmatic wife, walks off with the show. Adapted by John Gay from the Christie play and the Billy Wilder/Harry Kurnitz 1958 screenplay. That version of it, though, remains untouched. Above average. A WOMAN CALLED GOLDA 1982 200 min. Ingrid Bergman, Judy Davis, Leonard Nimoy, Anne Jackson, Ned Beatty, Barry Foster, Robert Loggia. Directed by Alan Gibson. Bergman's memorable, Emmy-winning swan song as Gold Meir, following the Israeli prime minister's life and career through her historic meeting with Anwar Sadat in 1977. Written by Harold Gast and Steven Gethers. Originally shown in two parts. Above average. THE WOMAN HUNTER 1972 73 min. Barbara Eden, Robert Vaughn, Stuart Whitman, Sydney Chaplin, Larry Storch, Enrique Lucero. Directed by Bernard Kowalski. Wealthy, unstable Dina Hunter (Eden) on a Mexican holiday is fearful that a murderer is stalking her and her jewels. Unconvincing climax in a suspense film that seems an excuse for Eden to show off fashions. Average. WOMAN OF THE YEAR 1976 100 min. Renee Taylor, Joseph Bologna, Dick O'Neill, Anthony Holland, Dick Bakalyan, Virginia Christine. Directed by Jud Taylor. Breezy comedy about the improbable marriage of an easy-going sports columnist and a celebrated society reporter. Taylor and Bologna are surprisingly comfortable in the shoes of Hepburn and Tracy. Above average. WOMEN AT WEST POINT 1979 100 min. Linda Purl, Leslie Ackerman, Jameson Parker, Andrew Stevens, Edward Edwards, Jack Blessing. Directed by Vincent Sherman. Fictionalized drama about the first women to enter the U.S. Military Acedemy in 1976 emerges, unfortunately, as "Gidget Becomes a Plebe." Below average. WOMEN IN CHAINS 1971 73 min. Ida Lupino, Lois Nettleton, Jessica Walter, Belinda Montgomery, John Larch. Directed by Bernard Kowalski. A probation officer who wants to see the prison system first hand, arranges a fake identity, and finds herself in a tough situation when the only person aware of her situation dies. Good production tries hard, but an unbelievable script and uneven performances render the film merely average. WOMEN OF SAN QUENTIN 1983 100 min. Stella Stevens, Debbie Allen, Hector Elizondo, Amy Steel, Rosana DeSoto, Gregg Henry, Yaphet Kotto. Directed by William A. Graham. No sadistic matrons out of old Ida Lupino prison flicks here. The women are guards, but the originality stops there. Stevens puts down a riot among the males by strolling into the yard unarmed and ordering them to drop their tire irons and two-by-fours! Below average. THE WOMEN'S ROOM 1980 150 min. Lee Remick, Colleen Dewhurst, Patty Duke Astin, Kathryn Harrold, Tovah Feldshuh, Tyne Daly, Lisa Pelikan, Mare Winningham, Gregory Harrison. Directed by Glenn Jordan. Talky adaptation by Carol Sobieski of Marilyn French's feminist novel about the evolution of several '50s women as they make it into the '70s. Emmy-nominated as Outstanding Drama Special, as were both Dewhurst and Astin as Outstanding Supporting Actress. Above average. WORD OF HONOR 1981 100 min. Karl Malden, Rue McClanahan, Ron Silver, Largo Woodruff, Alexa Kenin, Jacqueline Brookes, Henderson Forsythe. Directed by Mel Damski. Small-town reporter Malden takes a stand and refuses to divulge the name of a confidential source. A strong performance by the always reliable Malden in this newspaper story produced by Alex Karras and Susan Clark. Above average. WORLD WAR III 1982 200 min. Rock Hudson, David Soul, Brian Keith, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jeroen Krabbe, Katherine Helmond, Robert Prosky, James Hampton, Richard Yniguez, Herbert Jefferson, Jr. Directed by David Greene. Doomsday thriller, written by Robert L. Joseph, revolving around a Russian military unit's invasion of Alaska to seize the pipeline in retaliation for a U.S. grain embargo circa Christmas, 1987. Keith is great as a world-weary Secretary General of the USSR, and Hudson plays the U.S. President-by-accident on whose decision a possible nuclear holocaust rests. The original director, Boris Sagal, was killed during location filming, most of which was then moved to Zoetrope Studios, where obvious indoor work vitiates much of the military tension. Above average.
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